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2014 Colorado Rockies review: Rafael Ynoa surprises with excellent play, future with the team still in doubt

Rafael Ynoa very quietly burst onto the scene in 19 games for the Colorado Rockies. Even after producing above the average on both offense and defense, though, his future with the Rockies is questionable.

Doug Pensinger

I'm not sure anyone -- including Rafael Ynoa himself -- expected the 2014 that the 26-year old rookie had. I'm not sure what anyone is to expect in the future either.

If Ynoa could extrapolate out his numbers from the 19 games he played in at the major league level this season, he would be invaluable to the Rockies. But that's not how things work.

What happened

Rafael Ynoa was never purported to be some grand offensive juggernaut. In two seasons in the Dodgers system at the Doulbe-A level, Ynoa posted wRC+ numbers of 105 and 108. He played in 115 games for the Rockies Triple-A club and was working on a solid but unspectacular line of .297/.356/.419, good for a 102 wRC+.

Then he got the call and went bananas.

In 19 games for the big boy team, he hit .343/.380/.463 for a 121 wRC+.

His value was supposed to be in his defense and versatility, putting him in a match-up with Charlie Culberson and Cristhian Adames for the role of the new Jhonny Hererra. No one expected him to hit like that.

But let's pump the brakes. His numbers are an amalgamation of alliterated statistician hot-spot terms; they are unsustainable small sample sizes.

No one can take away what he did. Look at some of the names lower than him in this series and realize that Rafael Ynoa's 0.7 fWAR in those 19 games were a greater contribution than guys with much loftier expectations and pay grades. And his .397 BABIP isn't even off the charts, but there simply is not enough data to conclude that Ynoa is an above-average offensive player at the MLB level.

I really hope he is though.

2014 Grade: B

It would be hard ask for much more than what Ynoa actually produced in his limited time in 2014. He showed flashes of defensive brilliance, and looks to at least be a potential defensive asset moving forward, especially for a team that played Michael Cuddyer at third base this season.

His bat is still a total question mark in my mind. But watching him hit was probably a top three aspect of watching the final month of the Rockies season.

What to expect in 2015

I have no idea. The DFA of Rob Scahill today makes me wonder if Ynoa is a candidate for such treatment. Another part of me thinks he may be the best suited for the much needed "Tulo insurance" roster spot. I just don't know. Gee, it would have been nice if the Rockies had played some of these guys a bit more so we could get a better look at their potential.